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The last boy scout

I truly don't believe that Kobe will be traded, but I do believe that if this is a true Iverson-esque-irreparable-differences-have-to trade demand (and it's hard to keep track), the Bulls are the most likely destination. The top reasons are objective: the Bulls are a high-profile market, a 'rich' franchise (benefits to Kobe), and are in the Eastern Conference (benefit to the Lakers). Coupling those with the trade package that the Bulls can offer and I don't think another team can match it.

I won't get too much into what offers I'd be happy with, although I'll just start with one of Deng/Hinrich/Gordon, and prefer that it's Gordon. Beyond that there's plenty of room to negotiate between the rookies, the picks, and the contracts, but a lot also depends of just how 'demanding' Kobe is in his desire to get out.

Whether it's Kobe or a (much more realistic scenario) Zach Randolph, it's possible that the missing piece to this Bulls team won't be exactly like what's currently in place. The Bulls are proud to boast regarding their team of good guys and conscientious citizens, a seemingly higher standard than most in the league. But from all the talk during the Pax regime over 'culture change' within the organization, I do not think acquiring a generally bad dude like Bryant or Randolph especially conflicts with that message.

It wasn't as if the team was full of felons when Paxson took over. It was more the case of guys who didn't especially give a shit about winning. I don't think that the organization cares as much about their off-court perception as they do about a player's ability to be a good teammate and desire to be a part of a winning team. From all that times I've heard Pax talk about 'his' guys, the emphasis is always on the work ethic they have and their drive to become better players. From what we know of both Bryant and Randolph is that they may be unsolid citizens but they also work. The off-court and on-court demeanor don't always necessarily coordinate.

And I think most NBA fans are more focused on that part of a player as well. At least I am. There are some truly unseemly individuals in the league, but I'm fine with one of them in a Bulls uniform if they're holding up a trophy. It's the type of player whose attitude destroys the team that I'm more worried about, the P.R. headache can be the sideshow it should be.

I don't know enough about either to say whether they're worth the risk (moreso in Randolph's case) but I'm hoping the Bulls are researching their behavior as teammates and not just looking at the rap sheets.